Four Valley athletes competed at the CIF-State Cross Country Championships in Fresno on Saturday.
Quartz Hill freshman Brianne Smith finished 18 overall in the girls Division 1 race, while senior teammate Cameron Smith was 42nd overall in the boys Division 1 race.
“I was really proud. It was their first time at state for both of them and it’s the first time I brought anybody to state,” said Quartz Hill coach Matt Bierowicz, who has coached the cross country team for 14 years. “So, it was exciting all around. We brought a lot of kids up here with them to support. We had about 10 kids up here running around, cheering them on. They both did really well in an intimidating race and really fast runners. They held their own and held their own.”
Highland junior Daniel Rodriguez finished 84th in the boys Division 1 race and Desert senior Jade Christensen was 144th in the girls Division 5 race.
Brianne Smith’s time of 18 minutes, 7.3 seconds was a personal best and the fastest time by a Quartz Hill girl at the Woodward Park course.
“It was good,” said Brianne, who was happy to be eating her sour patch kids and gummy bears on the car ride home. “It was nerve-racking but exciting at the same time.”
She finished 18th out of 184 runners.
“We’re excited to have Bri for another three years,” Bierowicz said.
Brianne also finished ninth last week at the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 Finals to earn all-CIF honors.
She will be running the 2-mile and 1-mile in track and field in the spring.
Cameron Smith ran a time of 15:42.5, the second fastest time for a Quartz Hill boy, to finish 42nd out of 179 runners.
“It started out pretty fast, probably faster than I had anticipated,” Cameron said. “But I was able to just kind of finish out the race strong.”
He was most excited to make it to the state championships as a senior.
“Just being there was very exciting,” Cameron said. “It was kind of just like the end goal. It was nice just being there and being able to run.”
Cameron took fifth place in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 race last week for all-CIF honors.
“That was a very exciting race, just because going into it I wasn’t going to make it (to state) as an individual,” Cameron said. “But I just kind of found something within me the last 400 meters. Just found another gear and was able to pass a few guys. When I finished the race it was that sense of relief knowing (I) had given it everything.”
Cameron is looking at several schools to continue his education and athletics, including UC Irvine, UC Riverside, Cal State Long Beach and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
“We’re sad to see Cameron go, but we know he’ll do really well in his college pursuit,” Bierowicz said. “He’s already trying to get that lined up.”
But before then, he’s looking forward to the track season.
“I’m trying to look at track right now,” Cameron said. “There’s a 2-mile record calling my name.”
The 2-mile record is 9:12, set by Jacob Branch.
“That’s going to be my goal for this season,” Cameron said.
Bierowicz said he is also looking forward to the track season.
“It was a really nice way to end the season and we’re really excited about track and field,” he said.
Rodriguez, the Golden League champion, finished with a time of 16:08.5 at the state meet for 84th in Division 1. He was ninth last week at the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 Finals, and was also all-CIF.
Christensen ran a time of 22:21.3 in the Division 5 race on Saturday. She was 144th out of 198 runners.
Christensen also finished ninth in the CIF-Central Section Finals last week.